A twofold expansion at Hanamaru Japanese Mart in Syosset, which offers a vast selection of groceries as well as ramen dishes, rice bowls and bento boxes in its food court, gives lots of fresh reasons to visit the store.
The shopping complex added a housewares department in the spring filled with eclectic merchandise like Shiba Inu-decked tote bags and glow-in-the-dark bath toys. Also new is a section for Japanese sakes, shochu and whiskey.
“We’ve had more customers coming in,” says Nick Wang, 45, who lives in Albertson and runs the store with his wife, Miwa, and brother, Lawrence. It opened in 2019. “It’s a family business. We wanted to expand to serve our communities here.”
Wang was born in China. When he was 16, he moved to Japan, where he studied economics in college and lived until he was 27. He has resided on Long Island for longer than a decade.
While products and merchandise sold reflect Japanese culture, the market’s customers are a multicultural mix, according to Wang. “Japanese products are smart and cute,” he adds. “They’re very popular.”
The Japanese term zakka refers to everything and anything that makes your home, life and appearance better, and that’s what the new department is all about. It is filled with housewares, toiletries, makeup and toys. Cosmetics run the gamut and include lip tints and eyeliner ($15.99), nail gel polish ($5.49) and UV spray ($15.99).
The market’s name and logo are inspired by a spiraling symbol suggesting a flower called hanamaru. In Japanese schools, says Wang, teachers mark exams with it when young students’ work is exceptional.
“That’s what I try to deliver,” says Wang.
Hanamaru Mart, 140 Jericho Tpke. 516-921-0600; hanamarumart.us.